New Zealand has several kinds of native wasps which have evolved here and have never become a nuisance. But five social species of wasps were accidentally introduced in the 1940s and are classed as pests, Common and German being two of these.
New Zealand has some of the highest densities of German and Common wasps (also called Yellowjackets) in the world. This is because they have no natural predators here, the winters are mild and there is plenty of food for them. With these perfect conditions it means that they have no problem establishing large colonies. In some cases, a colony could have as many as 5,000 wasps in the nest.
The nests of Common and German wasps are slightly different. The German wasp nests are grey-coloured, made from live wood; with Common wasp nests brown-coloured, made from dead or rotten wood. Although these wasps use different building materials for their nests, they build them in the same locations. Often their nests are underground or in banks, but they will settle for anywhere that is warm and dry. These places could be attics, eaves, and walls with the nest entrance being small and inconspicuous. Wasps are very protective of their nests and are always on the lookout ready to defend it, meaning they will sting when their nest or area around the nest is disturbed.
Why are these Common and German wasps classed as pests?
They are a nuisance for a few reasons, the main ones being the big numbers their nests can grow to and that they are scavengers, they will go after any food source available.
During the peak season for wasps, over summer, queens can lay between 200-300 eggs per day. It does not take long for the wasp numbers to grow and become well established. With such big numbers they need more and more food. If their natural food sources like other insects and invertebrates becomes low, they will start to scavenge. This leads to wasps foraging for alternative food sources, this could be around bins, any fruit on properties or even bushes and shrubs. They also will attack beehives for honey stores. Leading to starving the bees and killing the hive. Common and German wasps are a massive threat to our beekeepers, their hives, and the honey production.
What can you do to stop Common and German wasps?
Prevention is always better than a cure, however, sometimes this is not always possible. Our Wasp Bait and Wasp Lure are designed to wipe out whole wasp nests. When both products are used together, they are even more efficient in tackling a wasp problem. Often a good way to determine how high the infestation is, is to use the Wasp Lure, as it is designed to capture the wasps in the trap and drown them which reduces the biomass in the wasp nest. This allows you to see how many wasps you are capturing also and get a good gauge on infestation levels and how much Wasp Bait you should be using. From here you can decide if you want to swap the lure for bait. The Wasp Bait is designed so that the wasps take it back to the nest and feed the juveniles and queen, which in roughly 3 weeks or so will wipe out the nest.